How To Process Hemp and Create Unique Products
The hemp plant has fiber strands. Manufacturers take these strands and create hemp fabric. But only a few people know what actually goes into its production. Keep reading to learn how to process hemp and the steps involved in its development.
Hemp processing is a delicate and precise procedure. So, how do you turn hemp into fiber? Companies often use hemp fiber processing equipment and certain methods to ensure it’s done successfully and properly.
This guide reveals the secrets of industrial hemp harvesting and how it leads to processing the hemp fiber. If this is something that sparks your interest, reading till the end will definitely be worth it.
Table of Contents
Why Is Hemp Processed?
The hemp plant is highly versatile and has a wide range of applications across various industries. The hemp plant is renowned in medicine, construction, and commercial industries, where, depending on the industry, compounds of the hemp plant are taken and processed to get the most out of the plant’s benefits. Let’s see some of the key reasons why the hemp plant is processed.
The cannabis plant is rich in cannabinoids, including CBD and THC. Thus, the plant is processed to create CBD-extracted products like oils and capsules.
Hemp vs. Marijuana
Hemp and marijuana are both derived from the hemp plant, but they differ in their THC content. Also, hemp is considered legal in most states, unlike marijuana, due to the lower THC content. Although they are the same species, hemp is a cannabis plant with low THC levels. Marijuana is a cannabis plant that contains more than 0.3% of THC.
Thus, industrial hemp processing for product production involves certain needs to contain less than 0.3% of THC after undergoing the necessary tests for being implemented in production.
The roots of the hemp plant are also beneficial for various purposes. They are most commonly used for their medicinal properties. But first, they must be processed through juicing and boiling to create hemp biomass.
Due to the legalization of cannabis used for medicinal purposes, CBD-extracted products need to contain no more than 0.3% THC.
The hemp plant fibers used in agriculture are very dense. The long strands are extracted from the plant’s stalk to extract the fiber. The fibers of the hemp can be used to make textiles, construction materials, and paper.
This raw material provides a wide variety to create unique products. Thus, people who cultivate and harvest the hemp plant usually sell it to concentrate processors. Then, they make products, including CBD oils, isolates, and distillates.
The plant must be cleaned and dried before processing, regardless of the purpose it’s used for. Skilled professionals in this field also require the use of proper equipment, similar to the cutting-edge technology Sorting Robotics provides to take production to the next level.
The Importance of Using the Right Equipment for Hemp Processing
Investing in hemp fiber processing equipment is crucial to preserve its quality and avoid causing damage to the plant. The hemp must undergo a few processing steps before being used for product development in various industries.
Hemp is a tough, demanding plant material. Thus, choosing the right equipment to process it might be challenging. Professionals construct a detailed harvest plan and base their equipment choice depending on the intended end result, and the hemp plant material used to make their jobs easier.
Using suitable equipment for hemp processing may also help maintain the seed quality. Although hemp is known as rigid and dense, its seeds are very sensitive to heat and can become rancid if not treated with a highly specialized machine that prevents them from bursting.
The market is overflown with modern technology regarding fiber processing equipment with the use of hemp. However, many people are concerned with the hemp processing equipment cost, which can often be high.
You must remember that the right equipment is worth the investment for companies to create high-quality hemp products due to their high durability and anti-bacterial properties.
How To Process Hemp: A Step-by-Step Guide
Processing hemp into fiber may seem complex, especially if you lack the expertise. Whether you are new to the processing of hemp or want to expand your knowledge in this area, we’ll provide you with a detailed step by step overview.
The first step of processing hemp is cultivation. During this stage, the hemp is sowed densely. Then, tall and slender stems that contain numerous fibers of fine texture are produced.
Industrial hemp harvesting process
Timing is key when it comes to growing hemp for production. But, different parts of the hemp plant mature at different rates. Thus, the seeds may mature first by splitting up, followed by premature lower seeds.
Most hemp farmers can predict when is the proper time to harvest the plant. They use professional machinery to cut the flower heads from the plant. Then, they sort the plant by separating its parts. The flowers are used for seed production, while the hemp stalks are used for fiber processing.
Water and dew retting
The next step of processing hemp involves a procedure called retting. Retting involves natural decomposition processes to break down the non-fibrous components of plant stalks and separate the valuable fibers. During this process, bacteria and chemicals that appear naturally must break down the binding pectins of the hemp fibers.
The water retting technique requires the stems to be soaked in a controlled soaking process where the hemp or the other plant stacks in a body of water for a given period.
Dew retting involves the crops being laid flat on the ground for up to six weeks, with occasionally turning the plants on the other side to achieve a balanced retting. During dew retting, you leave the hemp plant exposed to dew, rain, and even sun.
Stem breaking and separation
The stems then must be broken by being passed through crushing rollers. This allows the material to break into smaller pieces and separate the fiber. During this process, you must use a machine to simplify the process, like a decorticator. This primary piece of equipment helps separate the long bast fibers from the woody core of the hemp plant.
The use of such equipment eliminates the possibility of creating a mess during processing. It may also decrease the sorting time after the pieces have been separated. Some even use a technique called “scutching”. It separates the short fibers from the longer ones, making the process even easier and less time-consuming.
After they have been separated and sorted, the fibers are then hackled or combed. This step is crucial to remove any woody residue and make the material appear smoother by the end of its production.
Fiber twisting and spinning
The material is then twisted to increase its strength and durability. The fibers are wound on spinning bobbins to finish the hemp processing and achieve a fine texture. Most often, the fibers are soaked in water before they undergo spinning. But some spin them while they are still dry to create a coarser yarn.
We hope we helped you learn how to process hemp and the techniques involved in product production. This operation is by no means simple, and it requires experience and a well-established skill set. But if you commit to the theory, you will easily put it into practice.